Detox can be a challenging, yet rewarding, part of ending marijuana use. With any drug or substance, detox is the first step toward recovery. When a person who has been using marijuana heavily stops taking the drug, their body may have a volatile reaction. This response is called withdrawal, which will likely be an uncomfortable — and sometimes even painful — process both physically and psychologically.
Withdrawal is a natural part of detox, which is the body’s process of removing marijuana and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). If you are hoping to overcome a marijuana addiction, the first step is to detox from the drug. To detox as safely as possible and avoid unnecessary complications, it’s best to detox at an accredited medical facility like The Recovery Village. The Recovery Village offers a full continuum of care in addition to detox to minimize withdrawal symptoms and promote true healing.
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What are Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms?
Addiction is a brain disease, meaning marijuana use chemically alters the brain to make it think THC is a necessary substance. These chemical changes are why a person might have uncontrollable cravings to use marijuana, and also why their body may have violent reactions when they stop using it. Such reactions are part of withdrawal, which occurs during detox, the body’s natural process of removing toxic substances from the system.
Withdrawal from marijuana is also known as marijuana withdrawal syndrome. Although some believe marijuana is not addictive, studies show marijuana addiction is possible, although it does have a lower occurrence rate than with other drugs. The younger a person starts using marijuana — especially in adolescence — the more likely they are to become addicted to the substance.
- Some symptoms of marijuana withdrawal syndrome include:
- Low appetite or losing weight
- Extreme sweating
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Tiredness during the day
Causes of Marijuana Withdrawal
There are many factors that affect marijuana withdrawal symptoms. The longer a person has used marijuana, and the higher dosage they consumed, the more severe these withdrawal symptoms may be. The causes of withdrawal symptoms directly relate to the amount and length of time the substance was used. These symptoms are the direct result of the body adjusting to life without marijuana. If you combine marijuana with other substances such as illicit drugs or alcohol, withdrawal symptoms may be heightened.
Effects of Withdrawal
Detoxing from marijuana and other substances often cause side effect and withdrawal symptoms that can be uncomfortable at best — and potentially life-threatening at worst. Typical marijuana withdrawal symptoms include shaking, sweating, headaches, muscle cramps, and anxiety. Vomiting, diarrhea, sweating and watery eyes are common effects of withdrawal as the body works to remove THC from its system. If a person experiences these symptoms repeatedly over several days or even weeks, they can easily become dehydrated. If dehydration becomes severe enough, it can cause potentially fatal seizures. Dehydration will also likely deplete nutrients, which the body needs to maintain optimal health.
Going through withdrawal can feel like an illness, so it’s important to go about it with the right help. Withdrawal is often most comfortable in a medically supervised facility, where doctors and nurses can monitor symptoms and help with discomfort. They may administer over-the-counter medications to help with common side effects, such as headaches and flu-like symptoms, or prescription medications to help with more serious symptoms such as tremors and insomnia.